Can I claim lump sum compensation from the TAC and how much?
You may have heard that you can claim lump sum compensation from the Transport Accident Commission. How does that work?
There are two potential lump sum claims you may be entitled to.
The first is referred to as a claim for Impairment Benefits.
This claim is paid on the basis of your ‘whole person impairment’ and can be paid regardless of who caused the accident.
An 'impairment' is a permanent physical or psychological condition caused by your accident injuries.
If you are likely to have a lasting impairment your injury can be assessed by an independent medical examiner to rate your injuries. For example, a permanent injury to your back may result in a 5% whole person impairment rating.
Your ‘whole person impairment’ is a percentage worked out by doctors (using the AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment).
A lump-sum payment may be paid by the TAC for this loss if your impairment rates at or above a certain level. However, an impairment claim must be made within six years of the accident.
Your injuries can only be assessed when they have stablised – which means that that they are not getting better, and are not getting worse – or three years after the accident, whichever occurs first.
If you disagree with the figure the TAC decides to determine your impairment at, you can appeal their decision. This needs to be done within 12 months of the date of the decision.
How large a compensation sum may I claim?
This is a very difficult to question to answer, but it is one of the most frequently asked. While every case is different, there are some parameters.
This table will give you an idea of how whole person impairment ratings correlate to lump sum payments. See the TAC website for more details: Impairment payments for accidents on or after 16 December 2004.
Here are a couple of examples that illustrate how the table works.
A person was riding his motorbike and was struck by a car when the driver of the car failed to give way at an intersection. The motorcyclist suffered injuries to his back, hip and leg. When his injuries stabilised he was assessed as having a whole person impairment rating of 18% which equates to $16,760.
In another example, a client of mine was involved in an accident where his truck came into contact with a car. As a consequence of this, he suffered a psychiatric injury and was assessed by a psychiatrist as having a 25% whole person impairment rating. This resulted in a payout under this specific claim of $29,760.
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